Two more lawsuits emerge over Resolute crash

The families of the First Air flight attendants and pilots have filed lawsuits against NAV Canada and the Attorney General of Canada over the fatal plane crash in Resolute, Nunavut, last August.

Families of First Air crew members sue DND, NAV Canada for damages

There are now five lawsuits in total in relation to the fatal First Air plane crash near Resolute, Nunavut, last August. (Vincent Desrosiers/CBC)

The families of the First Air flight attendants and pilots have filed lawsuits over the fatal plane crash in Resolute, Nunavut, which happened last August.

The lawsuits have been filed against NAV Canada, a private company based in Ottawa which owns and operates Canada’s civil air navigation system, and the Attorney General of Canada, which represents the Department of National Defence.

The families of flight attendants Ann Marie Chassie, 42, and Ute Barbara Merritt, 55, are seeking accident damages in the crash which claimed the womens’ lives.

In a separate lawsuit, the families of pilot Norman Blair Rutherford, 48, and co-pilot David Henry Hare, 48, are also suing for damages.

DND was operating summer training exercises at the time of the crash. The statement of claim says DND, which was operating the control tower at the airport, and NAV Canada failed to coordinate.

The plaintiffs allege the air traffic controllers failed to do their jobs and weren't properly briefed about how to handle civilian aircraft. It says they didn't have enough training, that there weren’t enough air traffic controllers on duty to handle the traffic and that there was confusion about their responsibilities.

Five separate lawsuits related to crash

Twelve of the 15 people on board the First Air flight died on Aug. 20, 2011, when the plane crashed into a hill near the community. Three people survived.

The five lawsuits were all filed in the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit. The other three separate lawsuits are:

  •  Families of seven of the deceased and the three survivors – Gabrielle Pelky, Nicole Williamson and Robin Wylie – are seeking personal injury damages against First Air, NAV Canada and the DND.
  • The widow of passenger Martin Bergmann, Sheila Bergmann McRae, is suing First Air and NAV Canada.
  • First Air is suing DND for negligence

The Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the crash.